Vasque Eriksson GTX Review
First Impressions of the Vasque Eriksson GTX
When the opportunity arose to test and review the Vasque Eriksson GTX, I immediately jumped all over it. And when I think of Vasque, I think of the classic, sturdy, all-weather, hiking boot. Vasque has been making boots for over 50 years, and the Ericksson GTX is a shining example of that classic hiking boot with today’s technological advances and features. I recall taking camping trips to the Southwest in college in the early 90’s, and one of my friends had some sweet and rugged Vasque boots. I merely had another no name brand that just didn’t stand up to the rigors of hikes in such places as the Grand Canyon or Arches National Parks. Now, it’s my turn to take these boots to places in my own little backyard, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
Vasque focuses on 5 different uses for their footwear: Winter Hiking, Performance Hiking, Hiking, Backpacking, and Trail Running. The Vasque Eriksson GTX is the go-to and higher end boot offered up for hard core backpacking. Made to handle rugged and technical terrain while carrying a heavy pack.
The boot is named after the adventurer Leif Eriksson. Who, as legend has it, set foot in the Americas after being blown off course around the 1100’s in a land called Vinland which some think could have been Cape Cod. There you have it! This shoe was destined to continue exploring this new land we call the Americas.
Before I get into the more technical details of the outsole, Vasque set out to decrease the weight (3 lbs 3 oz.) while adding better traction in an effort to provide a more natural gait. This I can appreciate, because many people get hurt or add stress to their muscles, ligaments, and bones by incorrectly tackling their hikes, climbs, and even the simple act of walking. The Outsole of the Vasque Eriksson GTX is a mix between the traditional tread and a more organic lug technology. This is an updated and exclusive Summit sole by Vibram. They’ve been designing high quality soles for years, and that experience is being put into play here. The sole provided stability on the earlier portions of my hike when walking across smaller rocks and pebbles. Later as the trail went above tree line, and became more technical, the sole provided maximum grip.
Coming from a running background, EVA cushioning, density, and support is something I’m always aware of and testing. The Vasque Eriksson GTX has a stable platform with an athletic level comfort built in. It was definitely a more solid and hardcore feel. I felt like I could power through some of the more technical, rocky, and gravely sections. An empowering feeling for sure as it provides a strong sense of confidence.
The Vasque Eriksson GTX upper is designed with extra stability in mind for the backpacker. The cuff height is slightly higher to provide that extra support. The leather is a 2.2mm thick waterproof full grain leather. I tackled a small stream crossing without any issues or water seeping into my boot. The toe consists of a laser etched rubber rand to prolong the toe scuff that is bound to happen with heavy use. The friction metal hardware is strong, looks durable and very sleek. I was able to adjust and tighten the 3rd and 4th buckle for a better fit around my foot, while still allowing for a slightly looser ankle lacing. It’s almost as if the laces are able to clinch at the hardware eyelets allowing for numerous personal adjustments.
The Eriksson GTX Lining
The Gore-Tex lining provides durable, breathable waterproof protection. And let me tell you about comfort! I really enjoyed the fit as it allowed for ample toe box width, but it fit like a glove. I wear 10 or 10.5 for most of my footwear, and I went with the 10.5 in this case to allow for my slightly thicker hiking socks.
Testing and fit
I always break my footwear in nice and slow. I’ll wear them around the house for an evening, just to get a feel for fit. Plus, I want to admire my new prized possession for a bit before exposing them to mud, boulders, rivers, snow and ice. The initial fit was good. At age 18, I broke my left ankle and had surgery. Ever since then that scar is real sensitive to ankle height boots. Having the right socks helps, but this boot is supple and soft enough that I did not have any issues with cinching these boots up nice and snug. That’s a big step in my book because I’ve walked away from many a boot after simply lacing them up.
The first real ‘test’ came on Halloween Night. The diversity of surfaces included asphalt, concrete, grass, and the traction was fantastic for going up and down stairs. The night went up off without a hitch as the adjustable lacing system allowed for a great fit allowing me to chase down Elsa and Supergirl. All kidding aside, this was a really nice way to break in the shoes. I wore them for 6 hours, my feet were warm, and the boot started ‘molding’ to my foot and ankle.
The second test came on a 5 mile hike on some local singletrack trails that were relatively flat and simple. I took my dog, and we chased geese from the creek. A great second step because I got to test the waterproof features. The leather upper and waterproof lining material reaches to just above the ankle. A 4-6 inch deep water crossing will keep your feet completely dry. I was quite impressed with this feature.
The final and real test came with a 10 mile day hike into the backcountry. A day of trekking with a mixture of terrain. From the initial dirt access logging roads to soft meadow field trails, this provided a nice warm up for what was to come. Single track dirt, rock, and roots combined with bouldering. The outsole really performed well to provide a good grip when having to climb up and over some of the more rockier sections of the trail. I also felt confident descending down through some scree fields which meant some sliding and quick thinking, but the Eriksson GTX boots performed admirably. I came out unscathed, without blisters, nor any hotspots. That of course can be very personal based on your foot, walking/hiking style, terrain, etc., but give these boots a proper “breaking-in” to bond to your feet, and the experience will be amazing.
- WEIGHT : 3 lbs. 3 oz. (1456g)
- LAST : Summit
- UPPER : 2.2mm Waterproof Full Grain Leather
- FOOTBED : Dual Density EVA
- MIDSOLE : Molded PU/EVA/TPU
- OUTSOLE : Vasque Exclusive Vibram® Summit with XSTrek Compound
Final Thoughts for the Vasque Eriksson GTX This is a true champion amongst the hiking boots I have had the pleasure to test and wear. This will tackle the toughest of hikes, and is a perfect match for a long backpacking trip into the mountains. The sole is durable and provides great traction on a variety of surfaces. The Goretex liner provides warmth, breathability, and comfort, and after a couple months of testing has slowly started to conform to my foot making them super comfortable. The lugs provide multi-directional traction on a variety of trails. As Vasque is the boot worn by many of our National Park Rangers, I have faith in the ability of the Vasque Eriksson GTX that it’s up to the task for my upcoming winter expeditions, and summer backpacking trips. Hiking to me is about being able to reach remote places to find some solitude. My competitive nature also considers this a very worthwhile activity to get a good workout in. The distance, trail challenges, and altitude really work my mind, body, and soul. Being able to feel great, and find my own little hide away while enjoying some amazingly beautiful places is the goal. When finished I hadn’t given my boots a second thought. I think I’ve found a winner.
For more information about this boot, and others please visit: www.vasque.com. MSRP: $219.99. Sure, that’s a price not to scoff at, but the comfort, support, and durability will outlast 2 or 3 inferior boots. Something to think about when a blister develops because of wet feet.